International Educational Programmes: Differences in Approaches between Developed and Developing Countries
Author: Anton Gakhov

03.05.2024 08:13

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Many countries around the world annually spend tens of millions of dollars on their international educational programmes. The primary difference in the objectives of these programmes lies in the fact that developed countries such as the USA, the UK, Germany, and Japan aim to attract talents from around the world to stimulate their economies. They see international students as potential drivers of innovation and growth in their scientific and technological industries.
Tecedu Innovations for Education 4.0  International Educational Programmes: Differences in Approaches between Developed and Developing Countries

Many countries around the world annually spend tens of millions of dollars on their international educational programmes. The primary difference in the objectives of these programmes lies in the fact that developed countries such as the USA, the UK, Germany, and Japan aim to attract talents from around the world to stimulate their economies. They see international students as potential drivers of innovation and growth in their scientific and technological industries. 

In contrast, developing countries focus on attracting new technologies and knowledge into their economies to accelerate their development and reduce their technological gap with developed countries. These countries view international educational programmes as an opportunity to prepare their citizens for the implementation of innovations and the modernisation of national systems. Despite massive investments, in this global competition for talent, developed countries often come out ahead, while the effectiveness of such educational programmes in developing countries remains low. This underscores the need to review approaches and strategies in international educational cooperation to ensure a more equitable and effective distribution of resources and opportunities. 

The aim of this article is to explore and compare the approaches of developed and developing countries to international educational programmes. We will examine the objectives set by the creators of these programmes and the methods and strategies they use to attract and educate international talents, as well as how these programmes impact the educational and economic policies of the country. Typical mistakes made by countries in implementing such initiatives will also be considered, and ways to enhance the effectiveness of investments in international education will be suggested. 

The article will be of interest to professionals in the field of education, employees of ministries involved in educational policy, human resources specialists, and leaders of organisations striving to develop their international educational programmes. This information will help better understand the principles of effective talent management at a global level and promote the development of educational initiatives that optimally serve national interests. 

2. Review of Existing International Training Programmes 

Scholarship programmes in developed countries: 

  • Fulbright Programme: Established in 1946, the Fulbright Programme is the flagship international educational and cultural exchange programme of the US government. The programme provides scholarships for students, scholars, teachers, and professionals, allowing them to study, teach, conduct research, and exchange ideas. Annually, the Fulbright Programme awards about 800 American scholars who travel abroad and approximately 900 foreign scholars who come to the US. 
  • Chevening Scholarships: The British government offers Chevening Scholarships for international students selected for master's studies in the UK. The programme is aimed at leaders and professionals from over 160 countries worldwide, offering them a unique opportunity to develop professional and academic skills in the UK. 
  • DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service): The German Academic Exchange Service provides scholarships for foreign students, postgraduates, and researchers who wish to study or conduct research in Germany. DAAD is one of the largest foundations supporting international student and scholar exchanges worldwide. 
  • Erasmus+ Programme: This initiative of the European Union covers education, training, youth support, and sports. The programme provides scholarships for higher education students for studies and internships in programme countries (EU), thereby fostering skills enhancement and intercultural exchange. Erasmus+ is one of the largest programmes supporting the mobility of students and teachers, stimulating cooperation and creating connections between educational institutions in Europe. 
  • Japanese Government Scholarships (MEXT): The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan actively supports international educational exchange through the provision of scholarships to foreign students. MEXT scholarships cover various levels of education – from school programmes to higher and postgraduate education, providing opportunities to study Japanese language, culture, and specialised disciplines at Japanese universities. 
  • Singapore Government Scholarships: These scholarships are intended for international students wishing to study at universities in Singapore at undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels. The scholarships support highly qualified foreign students in their pursuit of quality education in one of the most developed educational centres in Asia. Singapore aims to attract talented youth from around the world, providing not only funding but also opportunities for professional development and research. 

Scholarship programmes in developing countries: 

  • Bolashak (Kazakhstan): The "Bolashak" scholarship programme, launched in 1993 by the government of Kazakhstan, funds the education of Kazakhstani students abroad. The programme covers all levels of higher education and is aimed at training specialists in various fields, who return to Kazakhstan to apply the acquired knowledge and skills in practice. 
  • Nigerian Government Scholarships: Through various ministries and agencies, the government of Nigeria provides scholarships for young Nigerians aspiring to obtain education abroad. These programmes are aimed at developing future leaders and professionals capable of contributing to the socio-economic development of the country. 
  • Kuwait: The scholarship programme of the Ministry of Higher Education of Kuwait actively supports its students by offering them opportunities to study abroad. Scholarships are available for all levels of higher education: from undergraduate to doctoral studies, covering various specialisations at leading international universities. 
  • UAE: The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum scholarship programme for outstanding students is one of several initiatives funded by the UAE government. This programme provides scholarships for studying abroad and is aimed at supporting students from the UAE in their pursuit of education in a wide range of fields at the international level. 
  • Qatar: The Qatar Foundation offers the "Qatar Scholarship" programme, which supports Qatari students wishing to undergo training at leading international universities. This initiative is aimed at developing the next generation of leaders and professionals who can make significant contributions to the development of the country. 
  • Oman: Through the Ministry of Higher Education, the government of Oman also provides scholarships for Omani students who wish to study abroad. Scholarships cover various specialisations and are intended to prepare specialists who will contribute to the economic development of Oman. 

3. Objectives of the creators of such programmes 

Objectives of educational programmes in developed countries 

Developed countries, such as the USA, the UK, Germany, and Japan, actively use international educational programmes as a tool to attract international talents and strengthen academic ties. These countries aim to: 

  • Attract talents from around the world to enrich their academic institutions and stimulate innovation. 
  • Facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas, which enriches the scientific and cultural life of the country. 
  • Strengthen international ties by using education as a means of diplomacy (soft power), which helps to improve international understanding and cooperation. 
  • Prepare future leaders and specialists who can contribute to the development of both their home countries and the international community. 

Objectives of educational programmes in developing countries 

Developing countries use educational scholarships to: 

  • Prepare personnel for national development by educating their citizens at leading universities around the world, where they can acquire knowledge and skills not always available at home. 
  • Ensure the transfer of advanced knowledge and technologies to their countries through the return of graduates, which contributes to the modernisation of various economic sectors. 
  • Accelerate socio-economic development by introducing innovations and improved practices acquired abroad. 
  • Create sustainable ties with international educational institutions, which can lead to long-term partnerships and collaboration. 

Thus, international educational programmes play a crucial role in the development strategies of both developed and developing countries. Developed countries see them as a means to enhance their international status and cultural influence, while developing countries view them as a tool to accelerate national progress and integration into the global community. 

4. Analysis of the differences between the approaches of countries 

Impact on the selection of candidates 

The differences in approaches to international educational (scholarship) programmes between developed and developing countries affect the criteria for selecting candidates and the objectives of the programmes themselves. These differences are directly related to the diversity of economic, social, and educational goals of each country. 

In developed countries, the candidate selection programme often focuses on the following aspects: 

  • Adaptability and cultural integration: Candidates must be able to adapt to the new cultural and academic environment in order to successfully integrate into the educational process and the cultural space of the country. 
  • Academic achievements: Selection is made among those who have already demonstrated outstanding results in education and science. 
  • Communicative skills: The ability to communicate effectively across cultures, including proficiency in English or the language of the country of education, is important. 

In developing countries, the selection of candidates focuses on the following parameters: 

  • Leadership potential and entrepreneurial spirit: Preference is given to candidates who can apply the knowledge acquired to develop and modernise their country. 
  • Readiness for challenges: Candidates must be ready to work in conditions that may differ significantly from their educational environment, which includes the ability to adapt to limited resources or less developed infrastructure. 
  • Innovativeness and creativity: The ability to make creative decisions adapted to the specifics of local conditions is important. 

Impact on programme outcomes 

The differences in approaches not only affect the selection process of candidates but also the final outcomes of the programmes. In developed countries, scholarship recipients often stay in the country of education or return to their countries with international experience, which facilitates cultural and scientific exchange. In developing countries, scholarship recipients return home with the task of applying the knowledge acquired for national development, which can have a significant impact on the economic development of their home country. 

Thus, the selection of candidates and the objectives of the programmes are closely linked to the overall strategic goals of the countries initiating international educational programmes. These programmes serve as a bridge between countries and cultures, playing a key role in global educational and cultural exchange. 

5. Common Errors in Scholarship Programme Organisation 

Errors in Candidate Selection 

A key issue in scholarship programmes is the insufficiently defined candidate selection process, which can lead to choosing participants who do not best meet the programme's objectives. Common mistakes include: 

  • Insufficient qualification checks: Selecting candidates based solely on formal academic achievements without considering their personal qualities, motivation, and ability to bring positive changes to their community. 
  • Subjectivity in assessment: Unobjective selection methods can lead to bias and choosing candidates based on the personal preferences of the selection committee rather than actual merit. 
  • Underestimating the importance of personal qualities: Overlooking the importance of communication skills, adaptability, and other personal qualities, which are critical for successful integration and learning abroad. 

Errors in Programme Management 

Managing educational (scholarship) programmes requires precise planning and effective execution, but many programmes encounter serious management errors: 

  • Insufficient participant preparation: Lack of thorough preparation of candidates for the cultural, academic, and living conditions in the study country. This may include inadequate attention to language preparation and adaptation. 
  • Weak post-programme support: Absence of strategies to support scholars after the completion of their studies, which is important for their successful integration into the community and realisation of their potential in their home countries. 
  • Problems with funding and resources: Insufficient funding can lead to cuts in important programme components such as educational materials, teacher support, and student guidance, which reduces the overall quality of the learning process. 

Improving these aspects requires meticulous work in refining selection criteria, ensuring necessary resources, and preparing participants for potential difficulties during and after the learning process. Systematically eliminating these errors can enhance the effectiveness of scholarship programmes and the achievement of their goals. 

6. Profiles of Successful Candidates 

Key Qualities and Skills for Candidates Depending on the Programme Type 

A successful candidate in a scholarship programme possesses a range of qualities and skills defined by the specifics of the programme. However, there are common qualities: 

  • Academic performance: High levels of knowledge and the ability to think critically are key to success in any educational programme. 
  • Motivation and determination: A clear understanding of the goals the candidate aims to achieve with the educational programme and a drive for personal and professional growth. 
  • Adaptability: The ability to adapt to a new educational, social, and cultural environment, particularly important for international students. 
  • Communication skills: Important not only for the learning process but also for participating in cultural exchange and networking. 
  • Leadership qualities: The ability to influence and inspire others and make responsible decisions in complex situations. 

Recommendations for Selecting the Right Candidates 

Choosing suitable candidates is a critically important aspect of managing a scholarship programme. It is important to use a comprehensive approach: 

  • Structured interviews: Using standardised questions to assess candidates' motivation, professional interests, and personal qualities. 
  • Portfolio or academic works: Analysing previous work or projects can provide insights into a candidate's level of knowledge and experience. 
  • Recommendations: Feedback from teachers or professional mentors can better understand a candidate's potential. 
  • Psychometric tests: Can be used to assess cognitive abilities and personality traits. 
  • Assessment of personal qualities: Special exercises and simulations aimed at identifying teamwork, leadership, and conflict management skills. 

7. Suggestions for Improving Investments in Educational Scholarships 

Practical Steps for Governments and Programme Organisers 

To enhance the efficiency and impact of international educational programmes, it is crucial for governments and programme organisers to take proactive steps to increase the effectiveness of their investments. Here are several key recommendations: 

  • Enhance transparency and improve reporting: Implementing clear and transparent selection criteria, reporting procedures, and methods for assessing outcomes to increase public trust in the programmes. 
  • Diversity and inclusivity: Expanding access to scholarships for representatives from diverse groups, which contributes to increasing social and cultural diversity in educational institutions. 
  • Facilitating feedback from participants: Organising regular surveys and interviews with programme participants to identify weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. 
  • Strengthening partnerships: Encouraging collaboration with the private sector, international organisations, and alumni communities to provide additional resources, share experiences, and expand opportunities for scholars. 
  • Utilising technology to scale impact: Developing and implementing digital platforms for managing scholarships, training, and networking among programme participants. 
  • Focus on sustainable development: Directing programmes to support sustainable development and address global challenges such as poverty and inequality. 
  • Preparation and adaptation programmes: Developing preparatory courses for candidates and post-programme support to enhance their chances of academic and career success. 
  • Monitoring and evaluation of outcomes: Regularly conducting research to assess the long-term impact of scholarship programmes on the careers of graduates and the development of their countries.